Josh Turner pitched into the seventh inning and, keyed by a pair of clutch pinch-hitting performances, the Bryant Black Sox Junior (15) American Legion team erupted for five runs in the bottom of the fifth on Monday night at Bryant High School Field, to fend off Benton Gingles (Bauxite 15’s), 7-5.
The Sox only had three hits but one of those was a pinch-hit double by Garrett Wilson that drove in two runs during the fifth. Ryan Riggs later came off the bench to produce a run with a sacrifice fly.
“That’s good for them because they haven’t been in that situation a lot,” said Sox manager Tyler Brown. “Most of the time, they’re in the game at the beginning. That’s what we talk about, everybody staying in the game because you never know when you’re going to be called.”
Turner allowed three runs in the third but kept Gingles to that until the seventh when an error, a pair of walks and a base hit cut the lead to two. He had walked just one walk before that.
Aaron Morgan relieved and got out of the jam.
“Turner threw very well, best outing as far as going deep into a game,” Brown stated. “It was his longest and best outing of the year. He gave us a chance to win from the beginning. He’s thrown well every time he’s gone out there. He’s going to throw a lot of strikes, make them earn their runs.
“He had a little trouble towards the end, but he got it done,” he continued. “We brought in Morgan and he did a great job and got us out of that. Today was his first day to pitch and, after the game, I told him, ‘Welcome to the (pitching) staff.’
“It’s Legion baseball. We’re kind of low on arms, especially after playing so many games last week then throughout the weekend. But Turner, he did everything we asked him to. He got us through six and he wanted to finish the game. The pitch count got a little too high. But Morgan came in and did an excellent job of just throwing strikes.”
The win improved the 15s to 6-2 on the season. They’re scheduled to play at Sheridan this Thursday.
Turner pitched around a pair of one-out singles in the first inning. A nice defensive play by Noah Davis on a grounder into the hole at short, got a force at third then Turner got Easton Dinwiddy to fly to Jarod Yarbrough in center to end the threat.
In the home half, Zion Collins drew a one-out walk and courtesy runner Lawson Speer stole second. Will Hathcote beat out an infield hit then Kannon Allison got the run home with a sacrifice fly to center.
Neither team mustered much in the second, though Bryant’s Christian Motes was robbed of a hit by Benton’s Hunter Thomas in right.
Gingles’ third began with a walk to Caleb Goines. He was awarded second on a balk then took third on Jesse Oliver’s groundout. Austin Hillis was hit by a pitch then Reed Geautreaux singled inside the bag at third to tie the game. Dinwiddy followed with a hot grounder at nearly the exact same place, picking up a double and two runs batted in.
Dawson Goines grounded out to Conner Coleman at third to end the uprising with Benton up 3-1.
Thomas robbed Collins of a hit in the bottom of the third. Hathcote was plunked by a pitch but was stranded.
Turner settled in and retired seven in a row from the end of the third to the end of the fifth.
Bryant’s game-turning outburst began with a walk to Ethan Andrews, who proceeded to steal second and third as Yarbrough worked a walk. After a pitching change, Davis cracked an RBI single to left.
Collins was hit by a pitch then so was Hathcote, forcing in the tying run. That’s when Wilson came on as a pinch hitter. His drive to left-center got down for a two-run double.
After Coleman walked to load the bases again, Riggs stepped in and delivered the sacrifice fly that made it 6-3.
Geautreaux broke Turner’s string with a single to lead off the sixth then Dinwiddy cracked his second hit. On a pitch in the dirt that got past Collins, the Bryant catcher, Geautreaux tried to take third. Collins jumped on the ball, however, and fired to Davis, the shortstop, in time to nab Geautreaux trying to get back to second.
Dawson Goines then hit a bouncer to Motes at second who started an inning-ending doubleplay.
Bryant tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Yarbrough reached on an error and, with one out, Collins walked. Gingles turned to its fourth pitcher who struck out two to end the inning but not before he unleashed a pair of wild pitches that allowed Yarbrough to get to third then score.
The seventh began with a dropped flyball in right, allowing Junior Acosta to reach base. Jackson Regan followed with a single then Ethan Mathews drew a walk to load the bases.
After a visit from Brown, Turner struck out Caleb Goines but a walk to Cole Babcock forced in a run. Morgan came on and threw a wild pitch that allowed Regan to score as he walked Hillis. But he then struck out Geautreaux to end the game.